Yokozuna Hakuho on Tuesday suffered his first defeat of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, succumbing to top-ranked maegashira Hokutofuji in the biggest upset of the meet so far.
Fellow yokozuna Kakuryu continued his injury comeback in strong fashion, staying unbeaten on Day 3 of the 15-day tournament, but yokozuna Kisenosato continued to struggle with his second defeat at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Hakuho (2-1) was sent unceremoniously backpedaling with a frontal shove by maegashira Hokutofuji, who notched his first win here, a day after passing a stern test by his compatriot, first-ranked maegashira Ichinojo (1-2).
The yokozuna had won both previous meetings against Hokutofuji, but the lower-ranked wrestler put his decorated opponent on the back foot from the outset with a rapid series of pushes and slaps to record his fourth kinboshi victory.
Kakuryu (3-0) barely broke a sweat against No. 2 maegashira Yoshikaze (0-3), quickly beating the smaller wrestler by thrust down.
Kisenosato, who like Kakuryu is competing after withdrawing from the past four meets due to injuries, looked out of sorts as he went down to Ichinojo.
The yokozuna was unable to gain leverage against the heaviest man in the division and was heaved over the straw bales.
Ozeki Goeido (3-0) had little trouble dispatching second-ranked maegashira Kotoshogiku with a beltless arm throw, leaving the former ozeki from the Sadogatake stable winless.
Ozeki Takayasu (3-0) stayed undefeated with a win over third-ranked maegashira Chiyotairyu (0-3). The larger Chiyotairyu sought to take the initiative by lunging at Takayasu, but was pulled off balance and sent tumbling to the ground.
Komusubi Takakeisho (2-1) earned a strong round of applause for his spirited victory over sekiwake Tamawashi (2-1).
Both of the 170-kg wrestlers sought to take the offensive with a series of pushes and slaps before the Takanohana stable grappler prevailed by a frontal shove.
Sekiwake Mitakeumi disposed of komusubi Onosho (0-3), putting on a strong display to remain unbeaten.
Tenth-ranked maegashira Terunofuji (0-3) withdrew from the tournament ahead of his scheduled bout with No. 11 Daishomaru (2-1) due to pain in his left knee.
The former ozeki underwent surgery on the knee following last May’s Summer Grand Sumo Tournament and was demoted after pulling out of the following two meets.
The Mongolian lost the opportunity to immediately regain ozeki status by posting 10 wins at November’s Kyushu Basho, his first meet following demotion, after problems with the same knee forced him to withdraw with a 0-5 record.